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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 24, 2023

Two Terrific Thrillers to Read Now

by MK French

Are you looking for a book that will have you turning pages as quickly as you can? Thrillers are great for edge-of-your-seat reads and you won't want to put these down until you turn the last page.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Forge of the Assassin by Ross Harrison

book cover of fantasy thriller Forge of the Assassin by Ross Harrison
July 2023; Shadow Archer Publishing
ebook (406 pages); thriller

Seven years ago, Alexiares had saved Baby from death. She's spent the time keeping her safe from the same people that had trained Alexiares. She won't let Baby fall to the same fate, but the unthinkable happens: they get Baby. Now Alexiares must find her while staying ahead of the Church, a government task force, and the malevolent whispers of her own mind.

Forge of the Assassin is book 7 of the NEXUS series and pretty much a direct sequel to Church of the Assassin (read my review). That's the book where Alexiares finds Baby and survives the purge of her sect of assassins. She was determined to make sure Baby had a better life than she did and was willing to cut a bloody swath to ensure that happened. Baby has a name now! Juni is meant to be a free woman eventually but is raised with an awareness of weapons, self-defense, and the Church so she'll know what to look for. We see what it takes to stay alert and ahead of them, and it's honestly exhausting. Alex gets a lot of credit for lasting as long as she did, and for being stubborn enough to try to continue to run even after they're found.

Of course, Assassin training is tough and demeaning, breaking children of any natural inclination to make them heartless and relentless. And lucky for Juni, the shots that made it look like Alex died had a timed effect, getting her up and back in action to get Juni back. She's not the only team on the alert, as the Church is starting to get back into operations and the new Intelligence team is looking for Alex. This means that two-thirds of the book is an elaborate cat-and-mouse shell game, and there's no way to tell which way the wind will blow. Will Alex and Juni meet again? Will Pinky get his way and turn Juni into an even better assassin? Will the rising Church get their way with the planet? Pages turn quickly, and it's a thrill ride the entire time.

Buy Forge of the Assassin at Amazon

Blind Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

book cover of thriller Blind Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Webb
July 2023; Bantam; 978-0593599013
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); thriller 

AWOL Navy SEAL Finn is hiding out on Vieques, a tiny island to the east of Puerto Rico. Finn has been keeping his head down working for a blind man as he looks for the one whose crimes he's accused of, but now the man's two grandchildren are missing. Finn dives into the local underworld to find them as they try to escape. And if that wasn't enough, a hurricane cuts off the area from the outside world.

This is the third Finn novel, after Steel Fear (read my review) and Cold Fear (read my review). Now he's in a tropical location, with all the dangers that entails. You don't need to know what happened in those books, but it helps. Authorities still think Finn committed war crimes, so they're tracking him down. He is trying to evade capture and still find the children, figuring out quickly that they must have seen something they shouldn't have. Every good deed he does has to be measured against his risk of recognition and capture, so even trying to stop a possible mugging isn't simple. 

The novel takes place over the course of a week, with federal agencies after Finn, local crime lords and the police looking for him as well. It's a mess of different threads and assumptions, and in the middle of it all is Finn's stubborn wish to find the children safe and sound and bring them back to their blind grandfather, who had been kind to him. For someone insisting he has no idea what emotions are, he has a good deal of them and is willing to put himself into the line of fire to protect the children. The jumpy cut-scene nature of the short chapters and sentences adds to this tension, and it keeps amping up and up until we get to the hurricane and the ending of the novel itself. If you have been reading the series, then the tidbits of information have all been piling up, and now Finn has a name for the one that had set him up. Undoubtedly, it will all come home to roost eventually, and it will be fantastic once done.

Buy Blind Fear at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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